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(E) Key facts on Croatia's general election 2003
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  11/22/2003 | Data | Unrated
(E) Key facts on Croatia's general election 2003

 

Key facts on Croatia's general election


ZAGREB, Nov. 23. 2003 — Following are key facts about Croatia's parliamentary election on Sunday.
POLLING STATIONS: 6,974 in 12 electoral units. Croatia is divided into 10 electoral units, plus one for the Diaspora and one for ethnic minorities.

VOTING HOURS: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (0600-1800 GMT).
NUMBER OF VOTERS: 3.97 million in Croatia plus 400,000 in the diaspora, mainly in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
PREVIOUS ELECTIONS: January 2000, a reformist centre-left alliance ousted the nationalist HDZ party, which led Croatia to independence in 1991.
ELECTORAL SYSTEM: Proportionate, with a five percent threshold for each electoral unit. Croatia has a single-chamber assembly with the number of seats varying from 150 to 160, depending on the turnout among ethnic minorities and Croats living outside Croatia.
NUMBER OF PARTIES AND PARTICIPANTS:
405 lists (parties, coalitions and independent lists) with 5,119 participants.
MAIN PARTIES:
RULING COALITION:
Social Democrats (SDP) -- reformed communists led by Prime Minister Ivica Racan. Strongest party in coalition, criticised for pushing through market reforms at the expense of welfare. Despite strong pro-European agenda, cooperation with U.N. war crimes tribunal during their rule has been patchy. They promise more reforms, jobs and multi-rate Value Added Tax.
Croatian People's Party (HNS) -- The most liberal party in the coalition. Very outspoken, although has only one cabinet minister and two members in parliament. It appeals to urban intellectual voters, supports a full investigation of all war crimes committed by Croats, and remains committed to a coalition with the SDP.
The Peasant Party (HSS) -- The only conservative party in the alliance, the HSS has often contradicted coalition partners by urging slower privatisation and a greater state role in the economy. Party chief Zlatko Tomcic has indicated he might join a coalition government with either the left- or right-wing bloc, depending on ''compatibility of programmes.''
OPPOSITION:
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) -- The former nationalist party founded by the late President Franjo Tudjman, the HDZ has recently reformed, purged its ranks of hardliners and put forward a reformist pro-Western agenda. It supports all reforms needed for European Union and NATO entry. Diplomats remain sceptical about its pro-European reformist credentials.
Democratic Centre (DC) and Social Liberal party (HSLS) -- An alliance between HDZ renegades, the DC, and the HSLS, which quit the ruling coalition in 2002. Despite its centrist label, it has many rightwing ideas, including a reluctance to cooperate fully with the war crimes tribunal.
Croatian Party of Rights (HSP) -- The most radical major party on the right, the HSP has recently sought to improve its image, and its leader plans a trip to Israel to pay respect to victims of the Holocaust. It does not support the return of Serb refugees or full cooperation with the war crimes tribunal.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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